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UK ministers supporting Saudi in Yemen may be liable for war crimes

Sunday, April 15, 2018 5:19
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Britain bears a very heavy responsibility for the murder, mayhem and carnage being wrought by Saudi Arabia in Yemen

The escalating war in Yemen has subverted the international order. Since the end of World War Two, there has been a pattern of client regimes engaging in proxy wars on behalf of major powers. Today it is the other way around.

In Yemen, Britain and the United States are dancing to the Saudi tune.

Crucially, Saudi Arabia and its allies did not attack Yemen on behalf of the West. It is Britain and the US who are facilitating Saudi Arabia’s war.

We provide Saudi Arabia with arms and military advice, give moral support and, through the UN Security Council, essential diplomatic protection.

Britain has, in short, become Saudi Arabia’s proxy on the international stage as it pummels Yemen from the air in an attempt to restore Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi –  the internationally recognised Yemeni president who fled to Riyadh, begging for protection, after he was chased out of his country by rebels from the north Yemen Houthi movement.

This is the very troubling diplomatic background to the funeral bombing in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Saturday. Even though four days have passed, details are still emerging. Nobody is yet certain how many died.

Official figures state 140 were killed, along with countless injured, many of whom need urgent medical treatment which is unavailable in Sanaa hospitals. However, thanks to the Saudi air blockade, they cannot get out of the country to obtain the life-saving treatment they need.

Wretched response

Britain bears a very heavy responsibility for this murder, mayhem and carnage. Yet the response from Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood has been wretched.

He says that he had “raised concerns” with Saudi Arabia. I have studied the minister’s morally abject statement. The unfortunate Ellwood cannot even bring himself to condemn the attack, and has not demanded an independent investigation.

This is part of a pattern of behaviour from Ellwood. I am coming to believe that his persistent failure to condemn the savage acts committed by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Yemeni conflict makes him an accessory to mass murder.

Consider the facts: in the face of repeated Saudi atrocities, Britain continues to supply arms to Saudi Arabia and we have effectively blocked the establishment of an international independent investigative mechanism to look into the conflict.

A calamity is unfolding in Yemen and it’s time the world woke up

Meanwhile, Britain has advisers in control rooms assisting Saudi-led coalition bombing raids across Yemen. What on earth are they doing there?

A Ministry of Defence spokesman told The Telegraph in January that these advisers are in Saudi Arabia to ensure “best practice” and make sure that international humanitarian law is observed.

If that is the case, Britain’s military advisers in Saudi Arabia are a bunch of incompetents who are failing scandalously in their task. Either they are indeed exceptionally incompetent, or the government is not being straight about their true role.

There are urgent, burning questions to be answered about the true role of British advisers in Saudi Arabia as the massacre of civilians continues.

Parliament misled

We also know that Ellwood (and other ministers) have repeatedly misled the House of Commons about their knowledge of Saudi atrocities, something they were obliged to confess in statements in July.

Meanwhile, he makes excuses for Saudi conduct. This is what he told MPs on the floor of the Commons in January: “We are aware that the Houthis, who are very media-savvy in such a situation, are using their own artillery pieces deliberately, targeting individual areas where the people are not loyal to them, to give the impression that there have been air attacks.”

On Tuesday, I asked the Foreign Office for evidence to support Ellwood’s eye-catching claim that the Houthis were massacring their own people in order to fool the world into thinking that the Saudis were attacking Yemeni civilians.

[more…]

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Source: http://www.philosophers-stone.co.uk/?p=23474

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